If we want to live the life God intends, we must strive to spiritually advance. Paul testified, “I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly calling” (Philippians 3:14), and he urged the church at Philippi to do something similar, saying, “work out your own salvation” (Philippians 2:12). I don’t know about you, but spiritual growth can be hard for me. Terms like “pursue” and “work” from our aforementioned verses seem fitting. I’ve discovered it’s easy to get stuck in the smut of sin and self. Sometimes I need spiritual resuscitation. I’ve discovered that it helps to pursue the following four realities.
The Presence of God.
Spiritual apathy is often marked by a mindlessness concerning God. Indeed, it is a trait of the ungodly that “God is not in all his thoughts” (Psalm 10:4, KJV). I have heard it said that one of Satan’s chief strategies in subduing the souls of men is to get them to forget about God. Such is the sin of “godlessness.” It doesn’t necessarily involve overt actions against the Holy One, though such can be the result. Instead, it entails a godless existence, a lifestyle marked by little regard for God. Because of this, it stands to reason that a focus on God’s presence is a key to revival. The Psalmist had such a regard for God (Psalmist 139:7-12). If we want to come alive spiritually, we should start with developing a similar awareness. We can think about God at work, home, school, church, and while amongst friends. Jesus promised, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
The Power of God.
Spiritual attainments cannot be earned by the flesh. God says, “You can do nothing without me” (John 15:5), but He assures us that we are “able to do all things through Christ” (Philippians 4:13). How does God’s power visit us? The Bible teaches that it comes to us via the Third Person of the Trinity. Shortly before ascending to heaven, Jesus promised, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come” (Acts 1:8). If you want to be revived, learn to live by the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22 and Ephesians 5:18).
The Peace of God.
I’ve often heard it said that “grace” is God’s act of giving us what we don’t deserve, and “mercy”is God not giving us what we deserve. To continue that line of thought I like to say that “peace” involves God giving us what we need. Because of sin, it is perhaps humanity’s most desired commodity. The good news is this — when we place our faith in Christ for salvation, we receive it in a positional sense (Romans 5:1). However, we also need it in a practical sense. Such abiding peace comes to us as we pursue a moment-by-moment relationship with Jesus (John 14:27 and Philippians 4:6-9).
The Provision of God.
Spiritual revival requires a sense of neediness. We have to live in a state of utter dependence on God (Psalm 131:2), both materially and spiritually. Instead of obsessing over our needs, we should make the Kingdom of God our first priority (Matthew 6:25-34). When we do, we will experience a measure of blessing. The Lord will give us spiritual light and joy. We should rest in His provision, knowing that He has promised to “supply all” our “needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
Dr. Patrick Latham